166 Tasting Notes
I can’t believe I never reviewed this Long Jing from the spring 2012 season. They are currently sold out, but I will order more when spring 2013 becomes available. These are my notes from previous tastings. A winner! Delicate, light, fresh, yet plenty of flavor and with no bitterness whatsoever. Overall effect was relaxed and refreshing. When it was cool it was still very good. More expensive than their organic superfine dragonwell long jing. Both were very nice.
My house is empty tonight, with my husband on a 75 mile backpacking trip with one of our sons in the Carolina foothills. I did my own 2 hour urban hike with the Atlanta Outdoor Club today, and having been gone most of the day, I’m feeling that pull to the tea cabinet. I’ve been neglecting my Darjeeling teas lately, and had forgotten about the Upton Premium Darjeeling Sampler I had purchased. The company offers quite a few sampler sets which consist of 4 tins, each holding 35 gms. They also offer all of their teas in individual samples. Upton describes this as one of the finest from the 2011 first flush season, so my expectations are high. Right off the bat, before even tasting it, I enjoy the nice aroma of this golden amber cup. The delicate sweet liquor has an elegance about it with its layers of flavor and accents of tropical fruit. So very different from an Assam or a China Congou, yet amazingly, still a part of the black tea family. There is so much variety among all the different teas, even though they are all from the same plant. This Darjeeling is quite nice and one that I would recommend trying.
Its been awhile since I’ve had a pu-erh. I like to take some time with them since you can get so many steepings-16 for this one, according to Teavivre. So today, I have the time, and I’m motivated since my husband used my other sample yesterday, not realizing I was saving it for the right time. I start out in a conventional way using a gaiwan. Following the instructions on the website, I rinse 10 gms twice and start out with quick steepings, as follows: 10s, 10s, 10s, 5s, 5s, 5s, 10s,10s,10s,and 10s. I give my husband some of the later ones and he says, “Now that’s some good tea.” We’re in agreement on that. The first cups taste thick and rich, but all the steepings are nice. After ten 3-oz steepings, I do a final? two minute steeping for my husband with 10 oz of water, which he says still has plenty of flavor-so maybe we’re not done yet after all. The liquor is dark, the color of cola, with a pleasant earthy aroma. Sweet, earthy, and smooth are good overall descriptions, and importantly, there is no fishy taste, bitterness or astringency. So, for pu-erh lovers, or if you haven’t had pu-erh and want to give one a try, get a sample of this one. The pu-erh teas I’ve had from Teavivre do fine with either gongfu or Western style brewing.
I have extra time today and have decided to make this Gongfu style which is my preferred method for oolongs. To prepare it, I rinse the leaves first. The liquor is light yellow with a greenish cast. The wet leaves smell very vegetal. The 1st infusion tastes very buttery and has light spinach notes. The second infusion has a more floral fragrance and taste, with light vegetal notes in the background. After 5 infusions, I can sum up my impression with the words buttery, light, smooth, and creamy, with a lingering sweetness-it reminds me of what I appreciate in a good Tieguanyin. Each infusion is a little different, but all of these aspects are there to some degree, and the first four infusions are very flavorful, though not aggressive. The 5th infusion is pushing it, but I think next time, I might use a little more leaf, higher temp, and shorter steeping times as an experiment. If you’re an oolong fan, this is worth trying, especially if you like Tieguanyin.
I’m always excited to try anything I get from Stacy at Butiki. I love a good black and Stacy has good teas, but I anticipated this might be rather ordinary since it is a CTC. I was wrong! If you like something bold and unique, you should give it a try! All I had was a sample, and I followed the instructions to only steep for 1 minute. It has a ton of bold flavor, rich and malty, and I didn’t find it to be bitter. My first impression is very favorable, and I want to order some more if she adds it to her website. I may even score it higher when I try it again. I may have under rated it.
I received this sample with my Butiki order today, and as usual, Stacy doesn’t disappoint with her flavored blends. Sweetened, this makes a delicious dessert tea. The aroma wafting out of the cup is like a juicy orange and the most predominant flavor is orange-it reminds me of the classic Creamsicles from my childhood, but you still know you’re drinking tea. There is a hint of chocolate and the marshmallow is probably in there somewhere, adding to the yumminess, but orange is at the forefront. Some flavored teas leave an unpleasant aftertaste, but not this one. The second steep still packs plenty of flavor too. I give this the thumbs up, especially when sweetened as a dessert tea in the evening.